Sunday, 13 July 2008


I've been here two weeks. As requested, some (rather bland) notes about working conditions.

My job is broadly, and given other jobs I've had, comparatively speaking, good. I work from 9.30 until 6, though I usually get in early to plan my first few lessons, and I have, depending on the day, several free periods, on top of a 40 minute lunch. Basically Mondays and Fridays are busier than the middle of the week. My first lesson is fine. I suppose the kids are still half asleep. Then I have a double lesson with a bunch of wankers: unruly boys, unfocussed girls, one oddball that cries every single day - pretty much no likeable characters in that one. Finish with that though and I'm over the hump, especially on Tuesday and Thursday. I then teach a class of four five year olds who are pretty damn clever. Sometimes when they do go a bit mental I have to remind myself they are actually only five in western age. I probably couldn't spell 'xylophone' at their age. They can.

In the afternoon the kids get older. They come to our place after they finish normal school. Older does not equal better behaved, or necessarily smarter. I generally enjoy teaching all of them, all except one class that I have every other day, a class of 4 boys and 5 girls. I either have the four boys in four separate corners with their hands in the air, or take them individually outside and give them the hairdryer treatment. The girls pay attention usually and I feel bad that I can't give them enough attention because I'm repeatedly handing out admonishments of increasing volume and desperation to Matt, Ben and Aaron. Forty minutes a day though. I can handle that.

I have a better class after these - I can chat with them about anything and they always have interesting things to say. Last thing, I either have a class of 10/11 year olds who hardly speak any English, but aren't bad guys, or a 1-1 with a 16 year old girl who's lived in Tunbridge Wells for the last few years, so is near fluent in conversational English. We practise writing and talk about England. Fridays, I have a 20 minute lesson at 6pm which, since I couldn't find the right place on the tape, we have yet to actually do anything. I'd better get the tape sorted for next week, really.

I leave tired, but feeling surprisingly good. Still, I haven't been teaching for two weeks yet. Things will change in the next fifty. So er, watch this space.

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